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Australia 'Illegal pursuit': Federal Court quashes AWU investigation

04:25  26 november  2019
04:25  26 november  2019 Source:   theage.com.au

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A lawyer for a federal watchdog defending the legality of an investigation into Australian Workers A legal challenge was due to wrap up in the federal court in Melbourne on Friday with lawyers The union has sought to quash the Roc’s investigation , arguing it was politically motivated and unlawful.

On Wednesday the federal court began hearing an AWU challenge to the validity of Tuesday’s police raids and seeking to quash the Registered Organisations Commission investigation . Speaking outside the court , AWU legal adviser Josh Bornstein, principal of Maurice Blackburn, said the union’s

a person standing next to a car: AFP officers removed shredded documents and other evidence from the AWU offices in Sydney in 2017.© Wolter Peeters AFP officers removed shredded documents and other evidence from the AWU offices in Sydney in 2017. The Federal Court has ordered the unions watchdog to quash its investigation into the Australian Workers Union and return all documents it seized during controversial federal police raids in 2017.

Federal Court Justice Mordecai Bromberg issued an order on Tuesday quashing the Registered Organisations Commission (ROC) decision to investigate the AWU in October 2017. The ROC has also been ordered to return all documents it seized during the police raids of AWU offices.

The AWU said the court order has formally brought an end to the investigation which had resulted in news of the police raids being leaked to the media ahead of the raids.

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In a separate federal court case, the AWU is challenging the legality of the raid and the investigation , including arguing that because Cash referred the GetUp donation matter to the ROC, the matter was politically motivated. On Friday the AWU , AFP and ROC agreed to a timetable for the defendants to

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Acting AWU national secretary Misha Zelinsky welcomed the court's decision which found the raids unlawful.

"The ROC has already spent an extraordinary amount of taxpayer dollars and the extensive resources of the federal police on this illegal pursuit,” he said.

Maurice Blackburn principal Josh Bornstein, who is acting for the AWU, said the raids on the union’s offices were unprecedented.

"Unions are subject to one of the most repressive regulatory regimes in the OECD," he said.

"Unfortunately, the effect of current laws is to weaken unions and deprive employees of a voice in the workplace.

“The ROC should have never investigated this trivial matter dating back 12 years ... It should focus its efforts on issues of substance.”

Justice Bromberg found in October the ROC did not have reasonable grounds to launch an investigation into the AWU.

More to come

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